By Cindy Luis
Senior All-American hitter Emily Hartong repeated as the Big West Player of the Year, the conference announced today.
Hartong was joined on the first team by Rainbow Wahine senior setter Mita Uitao, senior libero Ali Longo and freshman hitter Nikki Taylor. Taylor was one of two freshmen on the first team; also named was UC Santa Barbara hitter Ali Spindt, selected as Freshman of the Year.
Hawaii middles Kalei Adolpho, a junior, and sophomore Jade Vorster were named honorable mention.
UCSB's Nicole Latagne Welch and Cal State Northridge's Jeff Stork were named Co-Coaches of the Year.
Also Cal Poly senior opposite Chelsea Hardin ('Iolani)) was named to the first team and CSUN senior hitter Mahina Aina ('Iolani) honorable mention.
A Rainbow Wahine has been named the conference player of the year every season since Angelica Ljungquist in 1995. Hawaii also had four other players so honored between 1987 and 1990.
Hartong led the Big West in kill average (4.64 kps), eighth-best in the country, and in points (5.19), ninth in the country when combining points on kills, blocks and aces. She is the second Rainbow Wahine to earn two Player of the Year honors from the Big West, joining Teee Williams-Sanders in 1988 and 1989.
Also today, Hawaii dropped six spots to No. 17 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index. The Rainbow Wahine (24-4) return to the Stan Sheriff Center Friday when hosting the NCAA tournament's first round.
Hawaii plays Idaho State in Friday's second match. BYU and Arizona State meet in the 5 p.m. match.
The winners play Saturday at 7 p.m.